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  • Steve King has been racist for years, and right-wing media have defended him every step of the way


    Despite his extremism, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has drawn on-air praise from right-wing media figures for years, with terms like “true warrior,” “great mentor,” and “hero.” Fox News figure Tucker Carlson once defended King’s white supremacy by stating, “Everything you said I think is defensible and probably right," while Laura Ingraham has said she understood “his point.”

  • Laura Ingraham’s radio show has ended. The world will be a better place without it.

    Unfortunately, Ingraham’s extremism will still be available on her new podcast

    Blog ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    After 17 years of torturing Americans’ ears, Laura Ingraham’s radio show finally came to an end this December. The weekday show has long served as a safe space for the Fox News host and her guests to make cruel jokes, practice racism, demonize immigrants, and push wild conspiracy theories. The world will be better off without it.

    Unfortunately, Ingraham’s cruelty and racism will still have a home on her Fox News show and her new podcast beginning next month. But for now, we can bid a happy farewell to a truly awful program by remembering some of its most repulsive moments.

    Ingraham’s show bullied and slandered immigrants and refugees constantly

    Ingraham fawned over Donald Trump’s bigoted rhetoric on immigration; she defended his calls for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, and even argued that the ban was “not broad enough,” claiming that she would “go farther” and be “even worse than Trump.”

    She asserted that “Middle Eastern countries have got to be told… we’re cutting you off,” questioned why the U.S. should allow Muslim immigration ”knowing that we can't tell if an Islamic individual is going to be radicalized," and said the U.S. should only accept refugees “who we can verifiably say are Christians. … But all these other people, they've got to stay in the Middle East.”

    She fearmongered about Muslim immigrants as “people who have dual loyalties … whether it's the Quran, or the Quranic way of thinking, versus the loyalties to the United States.”

    Ingraham claimed that Trump’s assertion that Mexico is “sending rapists” is true, and stated that Mexicans “have come here to murder and rape our people.”

    She parroted Trump in claiming that “nobody has a right to be here except the people who are born here,” and said the United States should shoot deported immigrants if they try to re-enter the country.

    After the Trump administration adopted a policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border, Ingraham compared child detention centers to “a public schoolyard,” and she called it “hilarious” that people were upset about children being held in cages -- after previously ridiculing peoples’ concern for immigrant families torn apart by deportation.

    During a segment with far-right extremist and noted Adolf Hitler fan Pat Buchanan, the two compared immigration reform to appeasing Hitler.

    Ingraham suggested that “we could do a lot to enforce our immigrations laws” by a partial repeal of the 14th amendment “to end birthright citizenship.”

    In response to an activist claiming that 1,100 people were going to be deported that day, Ingraham wished, “If only.”

    She compared pro-DACA protesters to “wild dogs.”

    On 2016 World Refugee Day, Ingraham said “rural towns are now being flooded with these refugees” who are bringing a “litany of infectious diseases” to the U.S. She has also suggested that migrant children may spread drug “resistant forms of TB” to “public school kids across this country,” and she claimed the recent caravan of migrants was bringing “crime” and “disease.”

    She complained that “Spanish-language media” are teaching undocumented immigrants “how to avoid deportation.”

    She claimed that “Northern Virginia is a problem” because “we have mosques going up. We have a mass influx of illegal immigrants in Virginia. We have mass resettlement of Central America and Mexico in Northern Virginia.”

    She hyped fears of terrorism about Muslim refugee women, asking: “What’s underneath that burqa, baby?”

    Ingraham insisted that English “should be the national language of this country,” and asserted that immigrants should only be here if they’re “speaking our language.

    She complained that “dual immersion classes in Spanish” being taught in U.S. schools make you “think you’re in a foreign country,” and she said that multilingual schools are "costing the good people -- Catholics, Christians -- that’s costing them opportunities and money."

    She accused U.S. judges of "aiding and abetting" human traffickers and drug cartels by granting due process to immigrants.

    She claimed that “illegal immigration” has led to a “transformation electorally” in American communities.

    Ingraham and her guests spread casual racism and bigotry

    Ingraham complained that NFL players who kneeled in protest of police brutality were “bratty” and “using the excuse of Black Lives Matter” to “disrespect the country,” and she also claimed that “a lot of these guys are punks.”

    She criticized former President Barack Obama’s response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic, claiming that his “core ties to the African continent” were putting public safety at risk. She also suggested Obama was purposely exposing American troops to the Ebola virus to “atone” for colonialism

    Ingraham argued that affirmative action is "shafting people who are not of the appropriate color, or background, or ethnicity.” She hosted right-wing commentator Heather Mac Donald on the program, who similarly insisted that affirmative action “brings in students to schools who are not qualified.”

    Ingraham attacked “the toxic effect of Univision and Telemundo,” calling them “Hispanic-centric networks” that “revile the American experience.”

    She had a habit of making offensive and extremely stupid comparisons, once comparing a school reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic to “skinheads” reciting it, and another time comparing the surveillance of mosques to police wearing body cameras.

    She noted that she doesn’t “think of Jewish people as minorities because they’re so successful.”

    She mocked MSNBC host Jose Diaz-Balart for translating for a Spanish-speaking guest.

    She aired a war cry sound effect while complaining that Trump didn’t use a different ethnic slur when calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren [D-MA] “Pocahontas.”

    After then-gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis (R-FL) warned Florida voters to not “monkey this up” by electing his Black Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum, Ingraham defended him while she played a song called “Shock the Monkey.” She also complained that “apparently if you’re white, you just can’t criticize an opponent at all.”

    In “celebration” of the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, she used the sound of a gunshot to cut off a sound bite of civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), whose skull was infamously fractured by a state trooper while marching with King on "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, AL, in 1965.

    She ranted that “shouting in Arabic” on a plane makes people “quite nervous, and for good reason.”

    Ingraham’s occasional co-host Raymond Arroyo suggested that money spent on housing migrants should be used in the “inner city … teaching people how to be hygienic, how to be clean.” Ingraham agreed, saying “we're pouring money down a rathole because of an open border.”

    Ingraham made wild, baseless claims and pushed conspiracy theories

    After the October 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival, she suggested that photos of the gunman’s room were staged and that he was in too “poor health” to have acted alone.

    Before the 2016 election, Ingraham implied that Hillary Clinton may try to kill then-FBI Director James Comey if she won.

    Ingraham pushed a discredited conspiracy theory that a Democratic National Committee staffer was murdered for leaking the hacked 2016 DNC emails.

    After Christine Blasey Ford accused then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Ingraham argued that “George Soros is involved” because Ford’s “social media was scrubbed.” She also claimed -- without offering any evidence -- that Ford’s accusations were “a left-wing conspiracy.”

    She routinely defended those accused of sexual assault and launched chauvinistic and sexist attacks against women

    Ingraham viciously attacked Ford and suggested that her “former boyfriends” should be contacted in connection to her accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. She also defended Kavanaugh at length and attempted to make the story about how “precarious” and “unfair” it is to be a man today.

    She accused anti-Kavanaugh protesters of being "hopped up on drugs," and said they would have physically assaulted Sen. Susan Collins [R-ME] if given the opportunity.

    She cast doubt on credible accusations of child sexual abuse by then-Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, arguing that “just because The Washington Post has decided to take someone out, don't jump on the grave prematurely.”

    She complained that Anita Hill, who accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991, is “still dining out” on a “false allegation.”

    She suggested that teenage girls should dress modestly to avoid “date rape” and “misogynistic behavior.”

    She insisted that “a very compelling case could be made that” the women’s movement for reproductive freedom “has set women back,” and she called Planned Parenthood employees “heinous, Hitlerian freaks.”

    During the 2016 election campaign, she complained that Hillary Clinton “always wants to play the damsel in distress,” and argued that a Clinton-Warren ticket would turn off “every male voter in the United States.”

    While discussing former First Lady Michelle Obama’s comments on food insecurity in America, Ingraham said that “one of [Obama’s] daughters apparently is not living in a food desert.” The show’s producer later played Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” during a segment about a fellow Fox pundit calling Michelle Obama fat.

    She compared looking at former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to looking at “gruesome” pictures of Osama Bin Laden’s corpse.

    The show was chronically vicious toward the LGBTQ community, especially transgender people

    Ingraham has repeatedly attacked trans people's right to use transgender-inclusive restrooms. She claimed she doesn’t let her daughter use transgender-inclusive bathrooms by herself and suggested that people should literally wear diapers rather than share restrooms with transgender people.

    She claimed that giving hormone treatment to transgender children is “child abuse,” and lamented that schools are teaching that being transgender is “acceptable.”

    She questioned whether the military is paying for transgender people to “cut their private parts to death.”

    During an appearance on Ingraham’s show, Fox’s Tucker Carlson claimed that transgender equality is just a “solution in search of a problem.”

    Ingraham attacked nondiscrimination protections for transgender people, and also claimed that nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people are a “victory against religious liberty” that “Karl Marx would be very happy” to see.

    She expressed concern that opponents of same-sex marriage would face discrimination

    She likened same-sex marriage to state-validated incest.

  • Trump officials and right-wing media use Jakelin Caal Maquin's death to rally for Trump's wall

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Update (12/18/18): This piece has been updated with an additional example.

    Following reports of the December 8 death of Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old girl from Guatemala who died after being taken into Border Patrol custody, high-level White House officials and prominent right-wing media personalities exploited her death to advocate for President Donald Trump’s desired border wall while accusing her father of causing the tragedy.

    On December 13, The Washington Post reported that Caal Maquin “died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week for crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally with her father and a large group of migrants along a remote span of New Mexico desert.” She did not receive medical treatment until an hour and a half after it was requested. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claimed that Caal Maquin “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days” before her death -- but this was quickly disputed by her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cruz. According to a statement from his lawyers, Caal Cruz “made sure she was fed and had sufficient water." The family wants an investigation into Caal Maquin's death.

    The Post first resported Caal Maquin’s death several days after it happened. But once the story broke on December 13, right-wing media personalities and major Trump administration officials immediately began exploiting her death or claiming that her father had caused it:

    Fox News host Sean Hannity: “A wall can prevent these types of heart-breaking stories.”

    White House senior adviser Stephen Miller during a Fox appearance: “If you want to stop the horrors on the northward trek, ... then, for the love of God, fund the border wall.”

    MSNBC contributor and talk radio host Hugh Hewitt: Caal Maquin’s death "is about the most complete argument for building a long, strong" border wall.

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a Fox appearance: "This family chose to cross illegally."

    Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz: "That should be the message, don't make this journey, it will kill you."

    CNN political commentator and BlazeTV host Ben Ferguson: “This is child abuse in its worst form. … This is sick.”

    Fox News guest and Border Patrol Council Vice President Art Del Cueto: “No one’s pointing the finger at this father, they’re all pointing the finger at the Border Patrol agents, and that’s just disgusting.”

    One America News host Graham Ledger: Caal Maquin was a “seven-year-old illegal” whose parents should be “investigated for probable child abuse.”

    One America News host Liz Wheeler: Caal Maquin’s father “forced her to undergo the dangerous journey to the U.S. border and didn’t feed her or give her water for days and days on end.”

    Fox News host Laura Ingraham: “Now they’re, ‘Oh, it’s Trump’s fault that a seven-year-old girl died after her father dragged her across a desert for seven days.’ That’s Trump’s fault?”

    Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro: "The person responsible for all of this is the father who didn't feed the child."

    Video by Leanne Naramore